Long-time followers of the blog will remember how thrilled I was when the Kickstarter for the first edition ran. And, as we can see by general consensus around the web, the end result was stellar. For all those who haven’t read my review yet, I have a page dedicated to my reviews of all the stories here.
As an added bonus, we are joined today by my good friend Nick Sharps, who not only serves as one of the editors for this edition, but was one of the editors of the first edition as well.
Nick, it’s really great to have you here. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about the Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters II Kickstarter?
N.S.: Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters II is (unsurprisingly) a sequel to Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters, a project that is very near and dear to my heart. This time around we’re offering stories from 15 stories from such names as Marie Brennan (A Natural History of Dragons), Jeremy Robinson (Project Nemesis), Dan Wells (I Am Not a Serial Killer), Lee Murray (Into the Mist), and more.
The first Kaiju Rising anthology was a work of genius. It was filled with top-notch entries; some which played by generally accepted “kaiju rules”, and some that were completely original concepts. Yet, they were all high quality. As someone who was directly involved in putting together this tome, what was the experience like for you (then and now), and what has been some of the feedback/response that you’ve seen first-hand?
N.S.: I’m extremely proud of the first anthology and humbled by the support it garnered from the fans. To say I was impressed by the quality and diversity of the stories on display would be a Godzilla-sized understatement. The authors delivered stories that explored the kaiju genre in a number of unexpected ways and I had as much fun reading the anthology as anyone who backed the Kickstarter or bought the book after commercial release. I’m a fanboy first and an editor second (thankfully we have true professionals such as Tim Marquitz on the first book and Alana Joli Abbott to cover for me). The feedback has been largely positive, enough so that it was a no brainer to assemble a sequel.
I’m sure, like with the first Kaiju Rising, there’ll be some kick-ass add-ons and unlockable goals associated with the second edition. Can you enlighten us as to some?
N.S.: This time around we’ve decided to keep things mean and streamlined. We’re aware that the previous publisher had issues fulfilling some of its promises. We plan on dodging that bullet by taking a simpler route and just offering the sequel (in multiple formats) as well as the original. There are also Tuckerization/Red Shirt options from almost all of the authors available for fans who want to be written into giant monster stories by their favorite word weavers. It’s all about the most important thing this time around – the book.
First impressions are really important, and this cover is killer. It combines shades of Toho goodness and Harryhausen’s Kraken and brings it to a nightmarish level. Who do we have to thank for this?
N.S.: Tan Ho Sim (AlienTan) really knocked it out of the park with the Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters II cover. I think the illustration conveys what we’re aiming for with the anthology – big, beautiful, badass monsters absolutely wrecking face. We recruited Tan for this project based on his work with the Tiny Frontiers: Mecha and Monsters RPG from Gallant Knight Games. If you’re into giant monsters and role playing games you should really check it out. Hell, even if you’re not into RPGs you should check it out for the awesome art alone (disclaimer: I have a micro setting in the game book).
How about your own kaiju passion? I’ve been a kaiju fan since seeing the original King Kong in a theater re-release when I was about 5; as well as WPIX Channel 11 Godzilla marathons. You were able to deliver an anthology that satisfied a devoted fandom. What are your own favorite kaiju movies/books/etc.
N.S.: This is going to be controversial but my absolute favorite is Cloverfield. I love Cloverfield. It blew me away in theaters and my admiration of it has only grown. I’ll say 10 Cloverfield Lane deflated that passion a little but I can’t really blame the original for that as it’s only a pseudo sequel. Godzilla and all the Japanese kaiju are classics but I’m an American and I appreciate the concept of having our own giant monsters. Another controversial film choice is the 2005 remake of King Kong. Apart from the over-long bit in New York at the end I really enjoy that flick. And as far as books go I cannot recommend Jeremy Robinson’s Project Nemesis series enough. Anyone who enjoys these anthologies and hasn’t already read Robinson needs to go add Project Nemesis to their Amazon cart right now.
If you could see one grand kaiju battle, who would you choose?
N.S.: I’d actually really love to see some of the kaiju from the first anthology square off. Kane Gilmour’s Kashikoi from the story “The Lighthouse Keeper of Kurohaka Island” is a fan favorite and has an entire island made of kaiju bones to add to its kill tally. Dzoavits from Edward M. Erdelac’s “Devil’s Cap Brawl” was an interesting specimen that could hold its own in a brawl. And then C.L. Werner’s Mishipeshu from “Animikii vs. Mishipeshu” and the MECH: Age of Steel anthology story “Theseus IV vs. Mecha-Mishipeshu” is another pit fighter. I say throw the three of them in an arena and LET THEM FIGHT!
Anything else you want to add today?
N.S.: I’d like to thank you for reviewing Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters before we were even friends and for giving me the blog space to promote the sequel now. I’d also like to thank everyone who has supported these anthologies. I mentioned earlier what a humbling experience it can be. It’s no less of a humbling experience the second or third time around as it was the first. If anything it’s even more so. The amount of money the fans were able to raise for these projects, these labors of love, is staggering. I am so thankful for your continued support and I genuinely hope that you will love Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters II as much as I do.
Alright, well there you have it! So now that you have the info, head on over to Kickstarter and back this amazing anthology! Starting today, the Kaiju rise again!